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Excess ERAF: A Review of the Calculations Affecting School Funding


Insufficient ERAF: Examining a Recent Issue in Local Government Finance

December 18, 2012 - Over the last two years, an unanticipated funding shortfall in Amador and San Mateo Counties cut city and county reimbursements for two complex state-local financial transactions: the triple flip and VLF swap. It is likely this funding insufficiency, commonly called insufficient ERAF, will continue in future years, requiring state action if the affected local governments are to receive their full triple flip and VLF swap payments. In addressing claims of insufficient ERAF in future years, the Legislature will be faced with the difficult decisions of how much compensation cities and counties should receive and how the compensation should be provided. In this report we describe the causes and potential future development of insufficient ERAF and outline a framework that could be used in developing a remedy for insufficient ERAF.


Understanding California’s Property Taxes

November 29, 2012 - Property taxes and charges are a major source of revenue for thousands of local governments in California, generating more than $55 billion in revenue in 2010-11. At the same time, many elements of California's property tax system are complex and not well understood. The purpose of this report is to serve as an introductory reference to this key funding source. In the report, we answer some common questions about the state's property taxes, such as: what taxes and charges are on the property tax bill, what properties make up California's tax base, which local local governments receive property tax revenue, and how does the property tax affect the state budget. We also identify some policy concerns related to how property tax revenue is distributed among local governments and evaluate the property tax system relative to common tax policy criteria.


The 2012-13 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis

February 6, 2012 - This report analyzes the Governor's Proposition 98 budget package, including his basic budget plan and back-up plan as well as his multiyear plan to retire the "Wall of Debt" as it pertains to outstanding education obligations. The report makes a number of recommendations, including designating new revenues for paying down existing K-14 payment deferrals; replacing the education mandate system with a discretionary block grant; adopting some version of the Governor’s K-12 funding restructuring proposal, with general spending requirements that districts dedicate additional resources to their disadvantaged students; expanding community college categorical flexibility; canceling initiation of the transitional kindergarten program scheduled to begin in 2012-13; and prioritizing access to subsidized preschool for affected low-income children.


[PDF] The 2013-14 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis

February 21, 2013 - The Governor's 2013-14 budget provides $56.2 billion in total Proposition 98 funding--a $2.7 billion (5 percent) increase from the revised current-year level. The Governor dedicates new monies to paying down school and community college deferrals, transitioning to a new K-12 funding formula, restructuring adult education, funding Proposition 39 energy projects for schools and community colleges, and adding two mandates to the schools mandates block grant. The Governor also proposes various changes and consolidations relating to special education funding. Though we think the Governor's basic approach of dedicating roughly half of new funding to paying down existing obligations and the other half to building up base support is reasonable, we have concerns with many of his specific Proposition 98 proposals. In the areas of adult education, Proposition 39 energy projects, mandates, and special education, we provide alternatives for the Legislature 's consideration. Our assessment of an alternative to the Governor's Proposition 39 proposal can be found both in the Proposition 98 report and in a standalone budget brief--2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor's Proposition 39 Proposal.


The 2012-13 Budget: Unwinding Redevelopment

February 17, 2012 - On February 1, 2012, all redevelopment agencies in California were dissolved and the process for unwinding their financial affairs began. Given the scope of these agencies' funds, assets, and financial obligations, the unwinding process will take time. This report reviews the history of RDAs, the events that led to their dissolution, and the process communities are using to resolve their financial obligations. The report recommends the Legislature amend the redevelopment dissolution legislation to address timing issues, clarify the treatment of pass–through payments, and address key concerns of redevelopment bond investors.


A Historical Review of Proposition 98

January 18, 2017 - Approved by the voters in 1988, Proposition 98 established certain formulas for calculating a minimum annual funding level for K-14 education. The state commonly refers to this level as the minimum guarantee. This report reviews the state’s more-than-quarter-century experience with Proposition 98.


The 2021-22 Budget: The Fiscal Outlook for Schools and Community Colleges

November 18, 2020 - This report provides our fiscal outlook for schools and community colleges. State budgeting for schools and the California Community Colleges is governed largely by Proposition 98. The measure establishes a minimum funding requirement for K‑14 education commonly known as the minimum guarantee. This report provides our estimate of the minimum guarantee for the upcoming budget cycle. (The 2021‑22 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook contains an abbreviated version of our Proposition 98 outlook, along with the outlook for other major programs in the state budget.)


[PDF] Overview of California Local Government

June 17, 2010 - Presented to The Conference Committee on the Budget


Reversing the Property Tax Shifts

April 2, 1996 - Reversing the Property Tax Shifts